Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pope Francis sends message of consolation to victims’ families of Buenos Aires fire

Pope Francis has sent a message offering consolation and hope to families of the victims of the 2004 Cromañón nightclub fire that claimed the lives of 194 young people in Buenos Aires.

The Pope’s message, addressed to Bishop Jorge Lozano, President of the Argentinian Bishops’ Commission for Social Pastoral activities, was read out at the Cathedral of Buenos Aires on Monday, during a special liturgy presided by the Archbishop of the Argentinian capital, Msgr Mario Poli, marking the 9th anniversary of that tragic event December 30th.

When the fire ravished the local nightclub in 2004, Pope Francis, then Jorge Bergoglio, was Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

In his message, Pope Francis said, “In these days in which hope is renewed, I cannot forget the young people of Cromañón, their parents and relatives.”

He asked Bishop Lozano to tell them that he recalls that terrible day and wishes to express his closeness with them. 

“The wounds hurt and they hurt even more when they are not treated with tenderness,” the Pope wrote. He encouraged the families to treat their wounds with “care and tenderness” and look to the “Child Jesus who is tenderness itself,” for comfort.

The Pope acknowledged that it is not possible to “hide” their wounds, but at the same time they should not be “denied.” “Only a tender caress, from our heart, in silence, with respect, can give comfort.”

Wishing them a Holy Christmas, the Holy Father invoked the Lord’s all-encompassing compassion as father “to teach us all not remain alone and to continue on, seeking out the company” of others.

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